Every Friday, The Power Index profiles a place where powerful people wine, dine and travel. Today we start the series with a restaurant frequented by Melbourne’s business elite, The Italian.
The Italian enjoys its power by proximity. The elegant CBD long-lunch spot sits smack bang in the rear of one of Melbourne's centres of corporate influence, 101 Collins Street.
Walk through the marble-filled foyer of the 'Tower of Power' (so nicknamed because of the building's crème de la crème list of tenants) and you'll become quickly aware of The Italian's clientele.
Watching its belt of elevators ferry swathes of besuited movers and shakers up and down the building's forty-four floors will give you even more of an idea. Think pin-striped investment bankers, high-flying corporate lawyers and cashed-up stockbrokers.
And tucked behind a giant stock exchange board displaying the day's trading action you'll find The Italian.
Recently installed in a former gallery, Roberto Scheriani's creation sees its fair share of deals getting done and money getting made. It's here that much of Collins Street's Paris End business types pass through to enjoy a macchiato or plate of top-notch seasonal classic Italian nosh.
Some patrons who have been known to grace The Italian's linen tablecloths include corporate adviser John Wylie, trucking kingpin Lindsay Fox and retail magnate Solomon Lew. Others spotted there include former treasurer Peter Costello, BHP boss Marius Kloppers and ANZ CEO Mike Smith.
On the menu, diners preferring pasta might pick from the blue swimmer crab, tomato and chilli spaghetti ($27) or the lamb shoulder and rosemary ragu rigatoni ($25).
Those trying to stay off the carbs could choose the twice roasted half duck, rainbow chard and black olives ($39) or the chargrilled spatchcock with Italian coleslaw ($38). The 400-bin wine list, as you can imagine, very much caters to the regulars.
For dessert, punters can cleanse the palate with the vanilla panna cotta with strawberries, blueberries and mint ($16).
Sitting outside, the time-poor can get their caffeine fix as they check their Blackberries while those who venture inside sit down for a more substantial feed.
Unfortunately when The Power Index visited we only had the time (and petty cash advance) for a coffee, but we can assure you we're looking forward to enjoying a more substantial visit.
As with many corporate CBD lunch spots, The Italian's influence dies down at night. But we're sure it's seeing enough action during the day to more than make up for it. Like a lot of things power, it's all about location, location, location.
Who have you spied eating at The Italian? Email us your tips and power restaurant suggestions.